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XIV. — Explanatory Notes on two Maps of Patagonia. By
Mr. H. L. Jones.
Communicated by the Foreign Office.
Read, June 10, 1861.
$m Buenos Ayres, 15th April, 1858.
I beg leave to present to your Excellency two maps, de-
lineated by me, of the southern part of this Continent, from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, as far as our present knowledge permits.
The part of the coast and country bordering the Atlantic is
generally from my own knowledge and from several itineraries
which I have procured during a long residence in these countries,
having, between 1815 and 1828, made several journeys from the
river Negro to Buenos Ayres by land. In my first journey in
January, 1815, I remained more than a month in the tents of a
friendly Cacique in the " Sierra de la Ventana," who detained me
by the excuse of ensuring my safety in another tribe of Indians on
the route. I employed myself in examining the neighbourhood of
these mountains in every direction ; to the west unto the Salinas.
For many years I have had oiling establishments in the deep bays
between White Bay and the Bay of San Bias. In Brightman
Bay, the mouth of the river Colorado, Port Union, and the Bay of
San Bias, I have had regular establishments, employing many
men and horses, with small vessels. In consequence of my
knowledge of this part of country, the Government of Buenos
Ayres in 1828 entrusted to me the formation of a settlement or
fort in White Bay. For years I had employed my endeavours to
persuade the Ministers of the necessity of an establishment in this
excellent port. I carried down the artillery and necessaries, and
brought from River Negro the timber for the erection of the
buildings. Before the arrival of a military force from Buenos Ayres,
I had obtained, by treaty with the Caciques of the Telhuet Indians,
the licence to form a fort, had examined this deep bay by sounding
its channels, selecting the best spot for the establishment, and
riding over the country in all directions.
The River Negro, from near its source in the Cordilleras to its
entrance into the Atlantic, is delineated from the exploration made
by Don Basilio Villarino, by orders of the metropolitan govern-
ment, in 1782. I have laid down, to the best of my ability, the
many courses and distances in the windings of this river from the
Journal of this indefatigable man. I have marked the passes of
the Indians, the falls and banks which impeded the navigation,
and the continuance of the high cliffs which confine the narrow
valley of alluvial soil brought from the Cordillera and deposited
on the river-side. Some alterations have been made from the ex-
i — i — I — i — i — i — r
Pui> a for the Join
.'V J iturrav.Albfinarlr Jitr' London, 1861 .
Jones's Notes on two Maps of Patagonia. 205
pedition of General Pacheco a few years ago, noted by Descalzi.
In 1817 I made a journey up the River Negro as far as the island
of Choelechel, in consequence of some peones from Patagonia
having stolen the horses from my oiling establishment at San Bias.
With an officer and some soldiers we examined the island, which
is a resting-place of the Indians of the Cordillera, who steal cattle
in the Estancias of Buenos Ayres. Learning that these men had
crossed over northward to the River Colorado, a distance of 10 or
12 leagues, I found them, recovered my horses, and, following the
stream of this last river, returned to San Bias.
The direction of the eastern branch of the Andes, called by
Don Luis de la Cruz in his Journal, Auca Mahuida, between the
River Colorado and River Negro, is taken from his work in 1806.
These mountains always running southward, it is established,
from Villarino's account, where they cross the River Negro and
take the name of the Balcliita Chain. To make the exploration
of the River Chupat, in 1851 and 1855, I sent 140 horses from
Patagonia, with Indians, guides, and peons, with a person capable
of taking the courses and distances and making the necessary
observations. I supplied him with what was necessary for the
purpose. From the scarcity of water in the lakes by the drought
so common in these countries, the guides found it necessary to
follow up the River Negro nearly as high as the Island of Choele-
chel, and from thence to cross south-west to the Balchita chain of
mountains. Among these mountains they journeyed to the Chupat.
Only Indians had before performed this long journey, and the
tract was quite unknown ; it was performed in forty days. The
chain is called Uttak by the Indians, and crosses the Chupat in a
The coast around the deep Gulf of St. Matthew and across to
the Rio Negro is from a journey which I made on foot after my
shipwreck in the Gulf St. George, in 1814. Leaving our boat at
the entrance of the Bay of St. Joseph, we proceeded to Port San
Antonio, and from thence across to the River Negro by compass.
The Peninsula of St. Joseph and the bay of the same name had
been examined by me in every direction in 1816, in a sealing
voyage with two schooners, when I brought horses from Pata-
gonia with peons for the purpose of catching wild cattle to
maintain the crew of the vessels.
In 1819, I took 36 horses from Ensenada with 8 peons to
discover the number of cattle in the Peninsula of St. Joseph. I
passed four months in this operation, surveying the country in all
directions. We calculated their number to be upwards of 15,000
In 1823, I formed a Company of four friends on shares, with a
licence from the Government to kill the wild cattle. We brought
206 Jones's Notes on two Maps of Patagonia.
from Patagonia 100 horses with Indians, and from Buenos Ayres
40 peons. I remained nearly a year travelling all over the
Peninsula and its neighbourhood. We killed about 10,000 head,
the remainder abandoned the Peninsula, and, following the coast
south around the spacious bay called New Bay, came to the River
In November, 1814, I discovered by mere accident the spot
where the River Chupat, or Chulilad, so called by the Moluches at
its western part, enters the Atlantic. It had always been re-
presented in the Spanish maps as far south, in the Bay of Came-
rones. As I have said before, I was shipwrecked in the Gulf of
St. George, in my brig-schooner Lovely Eliza. Leaving thirty-
five of the crew on Ship Island (or Island of Lions) short of pro-
visions, I volunteered to proceed in a small boat we had saved, with
six of the crew taken by lot, to Patagonia, to freight a vessel to
save their lives in that barren spot, taking them to Buenos Ayres.
Short of water in the boat, and in-shore we perceived in lat.
43° 21' piles of dry willow-trees on the beach ; landing, I found
the mouth of the River Chupat.
The exploration of this river in 1854 and 1855 was made in
consequence of my having formed a Company for the purpose of
making a permanent settlement. This motive was what was held
out to the public, and caused me to enter into it. I took down
eighty men in the brig Explorador, and the brig-of-wai* Maipu was
placed at my orders. I have said before, 140 horses were sent by
land. After examining the river for 25 or 30 leagues and the
chain of the Cordillera Uttak, the country about New Bay, and to
the south for 15 or 20 leagues ; after forming a deep ditch and
four bastions, and erecting buildings to shelter 80 or 100 men,
after passing risks, we were abandoned by the Company, main-
taining ourselves by chasing guanacos with the Indian peons and
horses. The works we had erected were destroyed. The reason
of the abandonment was (as it was held out) that the cattle on the
plains of the river had retired to the Uttak Mountains, having been
persecuted by the Indians. Our horses from the plains of Buenos
Ayres we found unfit on the rocky country among the mountains.
Motives which caused my endeavours to establish a permanent
settlement on the river, and convinced me of its utility to the
settlers and to society in general : —
1. I considered the alluvial soil on the River Chupat fit for
cultivation, and to supply refreshment to vessels going round Cape
Horn, or coming from the Pacific, which at present obliges them
to enter into the Falkland Islands, far east of their course. I
consider the entrance of the river has facility for vessels of 150 tons.
2. The vicinity of the river to New Bay, capable of receiving
the whole of the British navy, where the largest vessels can enter
Jones's Notes on tivo Maps of Patagonia. 207
freely, and find sheltered anchorage. Three hours' run from the
mouth of the Chupat, or half a tide, shows the distance of
3. I calculated on the narrow breadth of the continent in this
lat. 43° 21' ; the distance from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the
Gulf Encud, being in a direct line about 120 leagues. The Bay
of Desengano on the Atlantic side, and the Gulf of Encud on the
Pacific, contract the breadth of the continent. It is proved, from
Captain FitzRoy's observations, that the " Cordillera de los Andes,"
bordering on Encud, offer many passes, being, as he expresses
himself no higher in many parts than the islands on the coast of
the main land. That there are sheltered ports is also demon-
stated in his works. Dr. Darwin, who accompanied Captain
FitzRoy in the Beagle, after speaking highly of the advantages for
a settlement on the Chupat, from its soil and verdure, concludes :
" There is no necessity in showing the advantages to be derived
in being able to open a communication across the continent by this
river to Chiloe and Chile, which will tend to introduce civilisation,
Christianity, and commercial intercouse."
4. The configuration of the globe demonstrates that this is the
shortest course to Australia across the American continent. The
time will come when the utility will be found, as 'shown in a work
published in London in 1854 by Mr. Simmons.
5. My desire for forming a settlement also proceeded from a
wish to be useful to the tribe of Indians, the Tuelches, for years
faithful to me in these countries. They knew that we had a
quantity of horses loose in the plains of the river ; not one was
stolen. Having sent some Indians with my peons up the river to
speak to them, upwards of 200 men with their families, and bringing
the articles they had on sale, arrived a day or two after our de-
parture from the river. Finding the establishment destroyed, they
followed the coast to New Bay, expecting that I had entered
there, which was not the case.
6. From a cursory examination of the Cordillera " Uttak," I
have no doubt it contains mineral productions, as well as volcanoes.
I have discovered specimens to form this opinion, and the sides of
the river abound with volcanic scoria, brought by the current. It
must be remembered that Australia was settled upwards of eighty
years before its gold and copper were discovered.
Your Excellency's obedient humble servant,
H. L. Jones.
Ills Excellency W. D. Christie, Esq.,
II. B. M.'s Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Argentine Confederation.